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Michigan governor announces '3-week pause' that closes in-person dining, movie theaters

Michigan Gov. announces '3-week pause,' ending in-person dining, closing movie theaters & more
Posted at 7:03 PM, Nov 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 09:04:10-05

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Sunday evening measures to try and slow the growing spread of COVID-19 in her state.

In a press conference Sunday evening, Whitmer and state health officials announced a "Three-Week Pause" aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus.

Between Nov. 18 and Dec. 8, the state will mandate that the following operations be closed:

  • In-person learning at high schools, colleges and universities
  • Theaters, stadiums and arenas
  • All who are able to work from home will be required to do so
  • Dine-in restaurants and bars
  • Organized sports, except professional sports
  • Bowling centers, ice skating, indoor water parks
  • Bingo halls, casinos, arcades
  • Group fitness classes

Several businesses will remain open, according to the state, including:

  • Hair salons, barbershops and other "personal services"
  • Gyms and pools for individual exercise
  • Retail stores
  • Preschool through 8th grade
  • Childcare
  • Public transit
  • Manufacturing, construction, other work that is impossible to do remotely

The state is also putting restrictions on private gatherings — indoor gatherings are limited to two households and 10 people, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.

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“In the spring, we listened to public health experts, stomped the curve, and saved thousands of lives together. Now, we must channel that same energy and join forces again to protect our families, frontline workers and small businesses,” Whitmer said in a release. “Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing. If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus."

“Indoor gatherings are the greatest source of spread, and sharply limiting them is our focus,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “The order is targeted and temporary, but a terrible loss of life will be forever unless we act. By coming together today, we can save thousands of lives.

State Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, a Republican, released a statement sharply criticizing Whitmer's restrictions.

“We are disappointed that Gov. Whitmer chose to go it alone, again," Shirkey said. "The Senate Republicans will continue working with our doctors and the medical community on ways we can combat this virus and are ready to work with the Governor when she decides to work as a team to fight this virus."

The state has seen an upward trend in cases, with record single-day numbers. On Saturday, the state reported 7,072 new positive virus cases and 65 more deaths. On Friday, the state reached its highest single-day record to date with 8,516 new coronavirus cases reported.

In the last five days, between Nov. 9 and 13, there were 35,009 cases of COVID-19 and the daily record was broken three times.

More than one-fourth — about 27% — of the total cases since the pandemic began have come since the beginning of November.

In one month, from Oct. 13 to Nov. 13, hospitalizations in Michigan increased 232%. There were 999 total hospitalizations on Oct.13 and 3,320 hospitalizations on Nov. 13.

This story was originally published by WXYZ in Detroit.